Inside Politics

Controversial Housing bill gets clean bill of health

Friday, February 16th, 2024 06:10 | By
Leader of Majority Kimani Ichung’wah. PHOTO/Print
Leader of Majority Kimani Ichung’wah. PHOTO/Print

A joint committee of parliament has given the controversial Affordable Housing Bill a clean bill of health even as opposition MPs maintained it was unconstitutional.

After conducting public participation across 19 counties and engaging various stakeholders in the housing sector, presented its report on Wednesday.

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah while moving the bill commended the courts for nullifying the Finance Act housing levy, asserting that the decision had paved the way for the new legislation that will allow improved revenue collection.

Ichung’wah outlined how the bill’s provisions establish a mechanism to ensure contributions to the housing fund from both formal and informal sector taxpayers.

He said the Joint Committee will be introducing an amendment that will allow the use of the provision of the Tax Procedures Act 2015 to apply also for this levy.

Following the High Court’s ruling, which deemed the levy discriminatory for targeting only salaried Kenyans while excluding those in the informal sector, Ichung’wah hailed the ruling for enabling the government to enhance revenue generation.

“I want to extend appreciation to the courts for creating an avenue for increased revenue collection. Initially targeting salaried individuals, we now have an opportunity to broaden our revenue base,” Ichung’wah.

The Kikuyu MP said he anticipated numerous projects nationwide upon the bill’s enactment.

“We are now poised to kick-start projects across all our 47 counties and 270 constituencies. I urge colleagues to propose suitable locations for housing projects,” he said.

He added: “I’m a beneficiary of the housing project in Kikuyu and I can tell you in a project where we are doing about 755 houses between us and our neighbours, Kabete constituency, we are projecting to employ close to 2000 people on site directly and many others indirectly.” Although the Affordable Housing Bill, initially presented as a National Assembly Bill, must undergo Senate scrutiny for consensus, this process is expected to prolong the timelines for implementing the housing fund deductions.

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